WHITE SMOKE, BLACK FIRE! c 1986, 2001


an online novel
for these times

PROLOGUE

             It was a time of antithesis.
             The new millennium had arrived with much fanfare, but little noticeable consequence. For consequence had already evolved. It was the new 'Enlightened Age' to many of high-tech, scientific and humanistic persuasions. A new 'Dark Age' had cast its unshakable shadow. Few could perceive the source of this phantom in the darkness that enveloped the globe. Few saw beyond gadgetry. Few realized the agenda of genetic crossbreeding and cloning for even fewer understood the puppetmaster pulling the strings of those promoting choice. They could not wipe the scales of conformity from their eyes. In their ineptitude and familiar zone they had few defenses for the beast in their midst. Little did they know they were only the appetizer for the inevitable reign of the one who, for all time had been foretold would arrive and reveal himself in the darkest hour as the Antichrist.
             Worldwide terrorism, epidemic diseases, a tsunami of moral depravity had washed the world in a gray matter of ambiguity and malaise. The entire global culture had become a cesspool of an amoral value system that could, quite easily, if one were so inclined, be justified in the Holy Book itself.
             One beacon of hope stood above the swirling sewer of modernism, extending her beam universally, offering refuge to the wanderer, to the lost. The lightkeeper, vigilant through the centuries, began to lose focus. The rays became dimmer as the storm grew stronger. In recent times, maintenance of the lighthouse had been neglected. Cracks appeared in the walls. The once impenetrable fortress on the rock began showing stress signs. The stable gate buckled, the seams became a sieve. The structure was wavering as apostate waves lashed against her foundation.
             Though crippled and caring, proud and poor, indigenous and infinite, she would not fall. Leaning perilously to port, she wavered on the edge of the precipice. What would it take to topple her? Quite possibly a cataclysmic event that would send shock waves of terror through the foundations of faith. As the years, months, weeks and days passed, a nefarious Legion waited and plotted for this very consequence which would shatter the total spectrum of the world's structure as it had been since recorded history had begun.
             Details of how were scarce. That was how the Legion worked. It took unprecedented wisdom to glean the particulars for goodness was a rare commodity. Still, those few who possessed this attribute were powerless to stem the tidal wave crashing down on an unsuspecting world, so engulfed by the forces of darkness.
             The few just men and women - though a bit more in number than of Abraham's era - could do nothing but recoil in muted horror. Fewer yet would be able to combat the clandestine Legion of the Basilisk with the only weapons they had left: cunning, tenacity, and the discovery of an inner strength of their own faith. These few noble heroes would realize their own limitations, and also the accuracy of Genesis 3: 1, "Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made."
             The portal for the serpent had been provided through the generations who had clamored for Liberty, Equality, Gnosticism, Immorality, Oppression and Nihilism. The acronym for LEGION. It had festered before the French Revolution, brought to a boil during the Bolshevik, Nazi and Soviet terrors and now had developed into a full-fledged malignant cancer that infested the entire world. The rotting carcass had been made ripe for the maggots of depravity.
             For half a century the periti of Rome had worked painstakingly to lay the foundations of concession. That hadn't bothered anyone on the face of the earth, except a few scattered here and there who steadfastly clung to the Old Faith amidst great persecution and mockery. The sheep had caved to the Demons' derision of the Faith of the ancients as nothing more than superstitious fools. Political correctness, corruption, self-debasement and ridicule had rendered this Faith of the Fathers impotent. The rotting carcass of the Catholic Church had become a whited sepulcher. The plebeians, who blindly and stubbornly continued to call themselves Catholic, had forsaken the Holy Sacrifice of a propitiatory nature for a more inclusive, streamlined participatory service portrayed as a meal, a Eucharistic Celebration where man venerated himself. The pied piper of pantheism had led the rats to the precipice. The Ark of the Covenant had been usurped. Indeed, liberty, equality and fraternity had finally triumphed. Viva la Revolution!
             While many had proselytized the Scriptures and what those inspired words portended - including the time prior to the Second Coming of Christ - few gave it credence. Save for a remnant scattered here and there around the globe, who clung to the tenets of their faith, the rest of civilization was already in the firmament of Gehenna's Galaxy. For over half a millennium those who felt man had a better idea had chipped away at the foundations of faith. Over the years absolutes had been abandoned in favor of new thought, concepts of relativism. The reformers would have their day come hell or high water. All they had striven towards would be achieved with this quest. The world had arrived at this crowning moment when East and West would be one again, along with every apostate that had bolted true Christendom. Universalism it was called.
             In the latter part of the 20th century dramatic changes had occurred in the world power structure. A metamorphosis few even saw, even fewer realizing the future ramifications. The spoils of innumerable revolutions, civil wars, corruption and the fatigue of virtue had laid bare the victim, exposed the body of man to the pollution of power and made him prey to the pull of the beast. Animals all, embattled and embittered, in a battle for survival of the fittest.
             Over the years authors had penned their thoughts, publishing books, articles, pamphlets and websites that touched on these times, warned of the consequences. Yet they could never conceive of the mind of God. Countless trees had been sacrificed to satiate the lust of millions in a billion-dollar porn industry that poured over into the everyday media until the shock had worn off. What had been murmured in the backrooms and boasted of in locker rooms had spilled out onto Main Street and into living rooms, and yes, even churches. This had all been aided by the Motion Picture and Television industry. The muckrakers had sated themselves at the banquet of celluloid, slothfully gorging souls with a veritable menu of the Devil's delights as they steadily descended from the golden age to the gilded age. The once powerful safeguard of the influential Legion of Decency had long been abandoned, opening the floodgates of the seven deadly sins. Society had allowed the envelope to be pushed as far as possible and beyond.
             The clash of ideologies had only fed the antibodies of tolerance and compromise, fear and loathing, pride and prejudice, envy and egalitarianism, inordinate sensual passions and passivity, anger and angst, voracity and violence, indolence and insurrection. These deadly germs metastasized every nation, engorging the bulging tumor of a One-World Order - a One-World Religion - masked behind the verbal engineering of "globalization" and "ecumenism."
             Now in the late autumn in the early part of the 21st century the masquerade was almost complete. The venomous virus was exacting its desired symptom. Though the contagion was universal, only a few powerful men governed the course under cover of legitimacy. Six men, more powerful than monarchs, presidents and popes, manipulated the masses through a clever, clandestine coven in which one of them had remained incognito to the rest. He was a chameleon of many shades who posed as a common man yet wielded power bequeathed to him by only one being.
             Oh, what a world! So horrid as to be unspeakable, yet it was spoken of in glorious tones by all the masses, by every tongue, every color, every race and every perverted persuasion, all now under one creed. The creed of the unholy one...brought into the temple of liberty by mankind as a whole, all blinded by the hideous Basilisk of Scripture.
             Mega mergers had enabled the powerful to become moreso. The news media, in print and through electronics, had been numbing and dumbing down the masses for decades. It had been too many generations for anyone but the most elderly to have known of something better, a time more glorious when civilization had its priorities in place. Little did the pawns of the powerful realize they themselves had been thoroughly hoodwinked. For long the world had been Satan's realm; soon, very soon, it would be his permanent throne. A worldwide throne of hedonism, of brutality, of intolerance for those who dared to be different. A time of such turmoil that there were whispers from the catacombs of the believers that the world had returned to the time of creation before God created the light: chaos. And those same whispers asked, with faith, would God come and save His people? Would He reach out His powerful hand and, with one sweep, wipe evil off the face of the earth and awaken His people who had slumbered into the snare of the wicked one?
             The darkness grew stronger. The void more vast. The dawn of the Devil was near as the world media congregated on a massive field between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers - near where Abraham was born and near where the original Garden of Eden was believed to have existed.
             They were there to broadcast to an anxious world a global ecumenical event that would be of biblical proportions. The influential religious and civic leaders of the world would be there on a circular stage 90 feet in diameter. They would be present to sign an historical document that would seal the uniting of all religions under the Magna Carta of the third millennium "One Eucharist." This agreement, contributed by all parties, had been rewritten many times. Each time weakened further in relativism until all were in covenant with the mere ambiguous words that would give universal recognition to all faiths while still allowing each creed to preserve their cultures and rituals, merely sharing them with others. The great compromise. It was the modus operandi of the times.
             It had come to this, so starved was a world longing for peace. There had been no peace. As China mounted a threat in the East, Russia, ripped from within by insurrection from an economy in ruins, turned to the West, barely concealing its Marxist intentions. The Soviet Union had not dissolved, only resolved. The European Charter had been an uneasy alliance that caved in confusion after another assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II's successor in the fall of 2004 during an address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. The alliance disintegrated in the aftermath of the great war and the fall of Jerusalem. Most of the ancient places of the Holy City laid in ruins. It had been the last hurrah of the Muslim forces, aided by terrorist cells from many nations. Arafat had long ago lost control and his own people rose up against him, stealing within to assassinate him. However, others followed, taking up with hard-core Islamic sympathizers who clung to the Zoroastrian creed. They saw the cross as the "evil empire" while those of the West saw liberty and democracy as the answer against the "axis of evil." In truth it was evil vs. evil for good had, for the most part, been snuffed out.
             So hardened were hearts, that few tears were shed. After all, Saddam Hussein's death - which had not been discovered until well after many American soldiers had shed their blood on Babylonian soil - had opened the way for the corrupted curial apparachiks of the Vatican II Popes to ultimately complete the one missing link of the much-ballyhooed Jubilee pilgrimages in retracing salvation history. Now that was possible. Payback from past bargains and compromises. The journey of salvation history would be completed. Never mind that it was now a history that had been ravaged by revisionists intent on altering the chronicles of time to fit their narrow, secular agendas.
             Friend and foe, spent from battle and mistrusting as ever, had reluctantly come to the table. All other alternatives had been exhausted. Yet, there was a new man in the Vatican: Pope Clement XV, who had been surprisingly elected in the Sacred Conclave following the unexpected death of John Paul II's successor. Pope Clement XV, in office for only a year, was apprehensive, even leery of the agenda. Regardless he was goaded by those within who served mammon. So also with many of the major religious leaders. They balked at the language, the concessions that reduced their own beliefs to merely opinions to be tolerated.
             In the decades, years and days leading up to this historical summit all seemed quiet. But was it? Those who could not be compromised would be eliminated. Just days before the event, the final deeds would be done.
             As the cock crowed on the morning of November 1st, the cockatrice had already crept into place. A designated television network satellite crew zoomed in on the international event. The world waited with baited breath. Catholic and Orthodox, Arab and Jew, Hindu and Moslem, Protestant and Buddhist were about to unite. The major principals were all there, putting on their best face. The masks were still in place as the clock struck twelve leaving All Hallows Eve behind in the United States.
             The world would never be the same.
             The vast majority of civilization knew not the catastrophe that would take place or the immediate repercussions. It was better that way. Safer. Kinder. It would have been extremely difficult to reach a society so mesmerized by the media and modern mores. They wouldn't have believed it. Their virtual world was about to be shaken to its roots in a very real video game of horror they could not escape.
             They were about to experience a meltdown of all they had hoped for, all they believed in. Little did they comprehend they were mere kindling for an explosive, terrifying and perfidious combustion of White Smoke, Black Fire!


      Next: PART I: The Unleashing FIRST CHAPTER, Episode One


"White Smoke, Black Fire!" is an original work, registered with the Writers' Guild and all rights are the exclusive rights of The DAILY CATHOLIC who owns the copyright. Because of the nature of the internet and the importance of sharing, we hereby give the reader permission to collect and disseminate by e-mail each episode as it is presented in each issue of The DAILY CATHOLIC, provided that one includes this 1986, 2001 copyright statement and source - www.DailyCatholic.org - and take nothing out of context, nor reproduce it for profit. This work, seventeen years in the making, is a work of fiction that replicates the reality of today in many ways. However names, characters, places and incidents are used fictionally and any resemblance to actual persons and events, except those recorded in history, are purely coincidental.

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